Orion Completes Testing at Plum Brook

NASA’s Plum Brook Station crew successfully completed all testing on the Orion crew vehicle on March 10, 2020. This round of testing included the first fully integrated Crew Module and Service Module environmental test. 

The team at Plum Brook performed two very important tests to get Orion ready to carry astronauts to the Moon, Mars and beyond:

  • Thermal Vacuum/Thermal Balance test –This test assessed more than 1,000 measurements installed on the flight vehicle by putting the Orion spacecraft in a simulated deep space environment. The data collected here proves the vehicle’s design is sound and will be used to optimize planned spaceflight operations. The test also verified Orion’s thermal control system by putting the vehicle through two thermal cycles — with extreme temperatures ranging from -250°F to 145°F — and four performance tests (two at hot, two at cold).
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)/Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) test – During this test, the team monitored operations of 140 flight critical functions of the spacecraft. The test covered 90 simulated mission events for an Artemis flight to the Moon and back. The EMI test exposed the vehicle to 73 frequencies, performed across 19 test runs. 
Graphic: NASA

About Orion

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building NASA's Orion, the only spacecraft designed for long-duration, human deep space exploration. Orion is NASA's deep space exploration spacecraft that will carry astronauts from Earth to the Moon and bring them home safely.

Currently in the production phase, we have finalized a contract for six Orion spacecraft missions and the ability to order up to 12 in total. The first spacecraft delivered on this contract, Artemis III, will carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon in 2024. Orion is a critical part of the agency's Artemis program to build a sustainable presence on the lunar surface and to prepare us to move on to Mars.

Astronaut Safety


Backup Systems

This unique space exploration vehicle was built with backup systems so astronauts can get back home safely in an emergency. From triple-redundant flight computers to 45 engines, our engineers focus on every detail.

Radiation Protection

Orion is constructed with an advanced storm shelter specifically designed to protect the crew against deadly radiation storms - one of the most intense challenges facing teams whose goal is to send humans to and from Mars.

Interplanetary Travel

The Orion space capsule is capable of traveling to the Moon, or trekking to Mars on a 1,000-day mission in deep space.

Thermal Protection

Thermal protection keeps the crew module at a balmy 72 degrees inside, whether it’s -300 degrees or 5,200 degrees outside.

Life Support

The Orion spacecraft is designed with a life support system that clears out heat and moisture during exercise, keeping the crew safe and healthy over long-duration missions.

Additional Information

Gary Napier